When a lunch is more than a lunch

Networking works in wondrous ways sometimes.

Reston Limousine CEO and President Kristina Bouweiri shares a recent encounter that opened her eyes to new management tools to help improve business practices.

A fortunate meeting with a turnaround expert

I am grateful. I have an incredible life and I want to be a better communicator so that I can share some of my incredible experiences!

Kristina Bouweiri

Recently, I had some amazing experiences. I was invited to lunch with Karen Wayne, CEO of the American Red Cross in Loudoun and Prince William counties. She wanted to introduce me to Bruce Potter, the new Chair of the Board for the American Red Cross. On my way to the lunch I thought…. Oh, they want to get me more engaged with the American Red Cross. That wasn’t the case at all!

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Bruce Potter is a charming man, an entrepreneur, and proven leader. He has just been hired by the new owner of Leesburg Today, Loudoun Business and Loudoun Magazine to turn these three publications around from bankruptcy to profitability. By chance the new owner was in town and Bruce invited him to join us!

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Richard L. Connor

Richard L. Connor is a publishing mogul having spent 40 years in the business with a career that includes stints at ABC, Disney and dozens of papers. He is a turnaround genius! His strategy is clear. He buys fledgling papers in dynamic areas like Loudoun and turns them around by creating loyalty with his readers and employees.

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Mr. Connor does this by having his newspapers not only serve the community as a voice of needed change but also by building bridges among its leaders and diverse forces. He has been recognized constantly for his unique brand of media leadership. He has won numerous awards as a columnist and for his editorials and has received a number of honors for his newspapers, community leadership and achievement. He has served on numerous community and industry boards, including two times as a member of the Pulitzer Prize Nominating Committee.

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It was a fascinating experience to meet this man.

He asked a lot of questions and he did a lot of listening. He wanted to hear how I grew Reston Limousine, why I founded Sterling Women. And he was very interested in my client appreciation lunches.

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By the end of the lunch Mr. Connor was calling me a “marketing machine.” This was a huge honor coming from him. I can tell we bonded as two business people who think outside the box.

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He would like to collaborate on some events and he wants to get more involved in my monthly lunches and annual women’s conference.

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Several times during lunch he mentioned that he had to get back to the office for another appointment, and finally he told us why he was in a hurry. After noting that he was an old dog that could not learn new tricks but that at the ripe age of 65 he was certain he had the secret to running a successful business.

Personality tests and skills assessment tools— are these the secrets to a successful business?

At this point I was sitting on the edge of my seat wondering what he was going to say!

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He explained that 10 years prior he had been introduced to a personality test/skills assessment tool. He uses this tool before he hires someone. He also uses this tool if he buys a business. He makes all the employees take the test and he reviews the results.
I asked him what he does with the employees he does not think will work out. He said  he let’s them go! I was fascinated with this story and have heard of pre-employment testing tools before but have never really used them. I found this to be a riveting testimonial.

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We have followed up and he sent me the name of this tool. I plan to introduce it soon to Reston Limousine!

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